Students write their way to City Hall

On Thursday 30 March, Newcastle City Hall opened its doors to welcome schools throughout the Hunter for the annual Newcastle Writers Festival.

20 talented students from St Therese’s Primary School, New Lambton, were selected to participate.

A group of gifted Year 4 and 5 creative writers were chosen from a selection criteria to attend the event.

“We looked at a range of criteria when selecting students, with teachers analysing students writing creativity as the main criteria”, said Assistant Principal, Sallyanne Stanbridge.

Returning for the fifth year, the Writers Festival is open to primary aged students from Years 1 to 6.

With the special appearance of Australian children’s authors and illustrators, the students received mentoring and workshop sessions to improve their creative writing.

From a combination of author presentations, catering up to 60 students from each school to workshops designed specifically for each year group on set topic areas, authors worked their magic to pass on their skills and expertise to the students.

Year 4 students were under the guidance of Melbourne children’s author, George Ivanoff who conducted a workshop called ‘Choose your own stories’. In his ‘You Choose’ series, George creates narratives where the stories go in different directions, depending on the reader’s choice.

In the workshop, George explained to the children how narratives are built from a series of choices and consequences, while assisting students in creating their own story. His collaborative and interactive workshop was an effective learning technique to engage the students who were in awe of his dramatic flair and character.

Meanwhile, Year 5 worked with children’s author, Louise Park creating memorable believable characters. Using the ‘read like a writer’ technique, she taught the students how to use the ‘show’, rather than ‘tell’ method to develop their characters.

The session involved creative role plays and the chance for students to apply workshop skills and writing tips to their own creative writing.

“Events such as the Writers Festival give our talented writers the opportunity to hear firsthand from well-known authors about how they go about their work in the writing process.

“The students really loved and benefited from the experience. We are looking forward to reading the children’s imaginative texts after working with the authors today,” said Mrs Stanbridge.

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Gabrielle Sutherland Image
Gabrielle Sutherland

Gabrielle Sutherland is a Marketing & Communications Officer for the Catholic Schools Office and a regular contributor to and Aurora.